Projected NFL Standings: AFC NORTH EDITION

By Luke Ervin
May. 22, 2020

The AFC North consists of three exciting young quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Baker Mayfield. But we can't forget the fourth quarterback in the division, Ben Roethlisberger, the tough veteran returning after missing most of last season. The Ravens should see some more competition in the AFC North this year with the return of Roethlisberger.

Baltimore Ravens: (14-2)

Even with the return of Roethlisberger, the Ravens will be able to win the AFC North pretty handily. The Ravens enter the 2020 season with one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. Even if the Ravens had a harder schedule, they would still be considered a top team in the AFC. The Ravens had a great offseason. In the free agency period, they added defensive talent upfront with Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Both guys should help the Ravens generate some more pass rush. In the draft, the Ravens selected first-round pick Patrick Queen to help bolster their linebacker position. The defense should be even better this year. The Ravens don't have many holes but one position I could see them looking to add to is the wide receiver group. The Ravens don't want to rely too heavily on Willie Snead IV. If the Ravens are ever able to add a true number one wideout, look out, because that offense will be impossible to stop. Aside from an upgrade at receiver, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens should be set to dominate the AFC again this year.

Pittsburg Steelers: (10-6)

Without Roethlisberger for most of the last season, the Steelers still managed to go 8-8. The health of Roethlisberger is the difference between another 7 or 8 win season or a 10 win season if he can stay healthy. The Steelers just always seem to be in the mix no matter what. The defense is strong and really kept them in games last year. The defense front, in particular, is a scary unit. On top of that, the Steelers have a very underrated secondary that includes, cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. With a strong defense, the Steelers could be a sleeper team if their offense can step up. The signing of Erick Ebron should help. I'm a big fan of Ebron and he should work well in the Steelers system. That being said, health is a concern for this Steelers team. Not only has Roethlisberger struggled with injures but James Conner was also injury-plagued last season. To reach their full potential the Steelers need a healthy offense.

Cleveland Browns: (7-9)

I was close to predicting an 8 or 9 win season for the Browns, but I just couldn't do it. The Browns are a very talented team but I think they underachieve again. The Browns spent their offseason addressing the biggest need they had, the offensive line. Their first move was to sign offensive tackle, Jack Conklin. The Browns followed that up in the NFL Draft when they selected offensive tackle, Jedrick Wills. Not only did the Browns address their offensive line, but they also added a new weapon for Baker Mayfield. The Browns added tight end, Austin Hooper from the Atlanta Falcons. On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns still have some holes to fill. The linebacker core is really young and could have some struggles. They added B.J. Goodson in free agency but I don't know if it will be enough. The Browns definitely have the talent for more wins but we'll have to see how all the talent fits together.

Cincinnati Bengals: (4-12)

The Bengals are on the right track after going 2-14 last season, but it will be a few years before they can become a threat in the division. The Bengals could use a lot of help even after selecting Joe Burrow. The weapons for Burrow are decent, we'll see how A.J. is able to perform as he gets older. I'm a big fan of Tyler Boyd. Burrow and Boyd will be a good duo for years to come. What scares me is the offensive line Burrow has in front of him. Hopefully, last year's first round selection left tackle Johah Williams lives up to the hype. A bad offensive line can really derail a young quarterback, lets hope that doesn't happen here. On defense, I think the secondary will struggle. The Bengals just have too many needs to fill before they can really improve. They have the quarterback, now they need to improve everything around him.

We'll look at the AFC South next. Let me know if you agree or disagree!